Baruch College has been awarded a $150,000 Mellon Foundation grant for the expansion of the Black and Latino Studies Department under the leadership of Shelly Eversley, Interim Chair and Professor of English. Though the Black and Latino Studies (BLS) program has been a part of the intellectual community at Baruch College since 1970, it only became an official major this past Fall. This remarkable show of support will allow the nascent program to grow and thrive. A partnership between the Mellon Foundation, the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities, and Baruch College is especially pertinent given both institutions’ ardent belief in the access that everyone should have to the arts and humanities. This is the first time the College has received funding from the Mellon Foundation.

“Ever since we started drafting the new BLS major, earning the support of Mellon was a goal,” Professor Eversley said. “The Mellon Foundation has played a critical role in supporting the humanities across all kinds of institutions, and its unequivocal commitment to the role of the humanities in supporting racial and social justice reflects the values of our program.”

The grant, entitled “Black and Latinx Publics,” will go to support a singular component of the new BLS major: community-engaged teaching and research. “The funds will be used to train faculty in community-engaged pedagogy and learning technologies so that they and their students can design and build research projects that make explicit connections between the classroom and the communities we serve,” Professor Eversley said. This is one of many ways that the program seeks to empower students through Black and Latino studies with a full range of tools they need to build the futures they desire. The grant will also help support faculty whose scholarly work speaks directly to racial and social justice issues. “In this, we will launch seminars on all kinds of publishing to demonstrate exactly how a committed teacher can also build a successful scholarly career.” Under Eversley’s stewardship, a hallmark of BLS’ critical orientation is rethinking skill sets that are typically seen as separate, instead proposing a more holistic view of education, professionalization, and scholarship.

The generous support of the Mellon Foundation is not only a huge asset for a department so early in its trajectory as an official major, but also for Black and Latino Studies’ larger mission. “It is so important to us,” Professor Eversley said, “not only because this Mellon Officer grant recognizes the value of Black and Latino Studies in higher education, but also because our present moment demands it.  Public universities like ours have a critical role in sustaining equitable futures that must include us all.” 

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at